ADHD is a much wider condition than most people are aware of and responses to it do vary. There is the highly positive side that sees its ability to think outside the box and be highly creative as a great bonus, then there is the other end of the spectrum where behavior can be unruly or socially unacceptable. What I hadn’t realized is that it can be criminal, no matter how young the offender.
If you weren’t sure whether common sense had finally departed the planet with a deep sigh and no backward glance then a recent report from the USA should finally convince you.
The ‘criminal’ in question is 5 year-old Michael Davis, who attended the Rio Calaveras Elementary of Stockton, California. He has been medically diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD and his mother admits that his behavior is inappropriate at times, and he is a handful.
Just be glad you don’t attend that school in an attempt to change Michael’s behavior school officials arranged to have a meeting with the school’s police officer, in an attempt, according to a local media report, to scare him straight.
The meeting did not go well as when the police officer, a lieutenant, met at the school Michael – according to the police offier’ ” pushed my hand away in a batting motion, pushed papers off the table, and kicked me in the right knee.”
Not uncommon behavior in any 5 year-old with, or without, ADHD but when he wouldn’t calm down the officer zip-tied his hands and feet and hauled him off to a nearby psychiatric hospital in the back of a squad car and he later was officially charged with battery of a police officer. What were his parents doing? Well they weren’t informed, were not present at the meeting and weren’t even called when he was taken away in the car.
The juvenile court judge sensibly totally dismissed the case, but left a vulnerable child with the lesson that his condition will be punished rather than helped and what was the role of the school in all this?
Nor was there any news of what happened to the police lieutenant who couldn’t cope with a truculent 5 year old – at the least he probably needed stress counseling for being totally unable to deal with the situation in a reasonable manner and I would have thought anger management should be on the table too.
ADHD is a condition that affects thousands and the way to handle it is not by treating children as criminals – and if it is then common sense has absolutely quit the planet.
AnnA Rushton is Editor of an information website on all aspects of hormonal health at http://www.bio-hormone-health.com